Friday, August 10, 2012

Interview with Evelyn Birkby: Part 1

For your new book, Always Put in a Recipe and Other Tips for Living from Iowa’s Best-Known Homemaker, you had to winnow through thousands of your “Up a Country Lane” columns. How in the world did you make a final selection?

It all started when my publisher, Tim Craig, asked me to find some of my favorite columns to put in the Valley News Today newspaper in 1999 for the 50-year anniversary of writing my column. By the time I had chosen a few to reprint, the idea came to me that I just might have a book.

So I started with those columns, and then I continued to sift through the back columns. It turned out to be a much larger task than I had expected. Let’s see, 62 years (which is what I finally researched) at 52 weeks a year is 3,224 columns! I had the advantage of the fine Iowa Women’s Archives resources, for they have gathered my columns all these years and digitized them in a form for researching.

But it was harder than I expected to choose. I found waaaay too many I liked—it took some doing to winnow them down. Then I decided I couldn’t just plop them into a book. I had to edit them, correct errors (yep), and make them better in some cases.

Even when I thought I had the book finished I discovered, with suggestions from the UI Press, that I had too many columns. Their eagle eyes thinned the manuscript down and tightened it up and made it better. I plan to look at the ones that got left out and see if they just might, someday, make another book.

Evelyn Birkby is the author of Always Put in a Recipe and Other Tips for Living from Iowa's Best-Known Homemaker, as well as Up a Country Lane Cookbook and Neighboring on the Air.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Making college campus green: Portland State University

At PSU, student-led green innovations are cause for annual celebration. Every year, the Solutions Generator, a student and faculty committee, chooses a handful of environmental proposals submitted by their peers and colleagues, as well as local community members. This year, 13 proposals were selected. They include:
   An organic waste recycling system enabled by Black Fly larvae
   A greywater collection system using mushrooms that filter waste and plants that enable water to easily evaporate
   A community fruit orchard, allowing students to grow several different species and study tree fungal growth
   An artistic exhibition space that exclusively utilizes recycled and/or reused materials

This post was created by Madison Jones

Monday, August 6, 2012

Finding Projectile Points

Finding Projectile Points

Collecting artifacts is an enjoyable hobby; follow these common-sense guidelines provided by the Office of the State Archeologist at the University of Iowa. Always get landowner permission before collecting. It is illegal to collect on public lands without a permit. Surface collect; do not try to excavate a site. Identify, catalog, and label your find and record site locations with the OSA. The OSA can help you document, process, manage, and care for your collection. Do not collect human remains. All prehistoric and modern cemeteries and burial sites in Iowa are protected by state and federal law. Report any human remains or burial sites you encounter to the OSA. Avoid buying and selling artifacts. This activity encourages looting and the loss of our nonrenewable cultural heritage. Many items on the market today are recently made copies.

Keep your collection intact; do not let it get dispersed. Be proactive with your collection. Read about Iowa archaeology, allow professionals to study your collection, give programs to school groups, participate in public field schools, and join the Iowa Archeology Society.